Guarumo, or Cecropia obtusifolia (Cecropiaceae), is a fruit-bearing tree that grows in the tropical Americas. Its leaves are used in folk medicine for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. A number of closely related Cecropia species (including Cecropia peltata, Cecropia palmate, and Cecropia obtusifolia) are similar in appearance, chemical makeup, and traditional medicinal uses.
Traditionally, Cecropia obtusifolia has been used by Palikur indigenous tribes in Guyana and the Amazon basin, as well as by traditional healers in Cuba and other parts of Central and South America, for various ailments including arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), asthma, bone fractures, bruises, diarrhea, fever, genitalia infection, gonorrhea, herpes, kidney disorders, liver disorders, mouth and tongue sores, obesity, Parkinson's disease, rheumatic inflammation, skin diseases, warts, and wounds. Animal studies have indicated that aqueous leaf extract of Cecropia obtusifolia may induce a decrease in blood pressure and have diuretic (increased urination) effects.
Clinical studies have shown that Cecropia obtusifolia reduces blood glucose in type 2 diabetic patients whose disease is not controlled or controlled by diet and exercise alone.
Akowa, ambai, Ambaiba palmate, ambaibo (Spanish), ambiabo, bois canon (French), bois trompette (French), Cecropia amphichlora, Cecropia arachnoidea, Cecropia asperrima, Cecropia concolor, Cecropia dielsiana, Cecropia hondurensis, Cecropia mexicana, Cecropia obtusifolia,Cecropia obtusifolia Bertol., Cecropia pachystachya, Cecropia scabrifolia, Cecropia schreberiana, Cecropia surinamensis, Cecropiaceae (family), certico, chancarpo, chancarro (Spanish), chlorogenic acid, embauba, golden trumpet tree, grayumbe, grayumbo, guarumbo (Spanish), guarumo (Spanish), hormigo, hormiguillo (Spanish), imbauba (Spanish), isoorientin, palo lija, pink trumpet tree, pop-a-gun, snakewood tree, tree-of-laziness, tree-of-sandpaper, trompette (French), trompettier, Trompetenbaum (German), trumpet tree, umbauba, yagruma (Spanish), yagrumo (Spanish), yaluma.
Note: The term "trumpet tree" has been applied to species of several genera, including Cecropia; however, plants of the genus Tabebuia are most commonly referred to as such. For information concerning Tabebuia, please refer to the monograph on pau d'arco. The data contained in this monograph are primarily concerned with Cecropiaobtusifolia, although research concerning other Cecropia species has been noted where deemed relevant.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Type 2 diabetes
Human studies have shown that guarumo can lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetic patients controlled by diet and exercise, with no adverse effects and without affecting insulin levels. However, methodological weaknesses limit the strength of these findings, and additional well-designed studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.